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One Horsewoman of Taktshang

In these few years if you have visited Paro Taktshang you must have noticed that there are plenty of horses waiting at the base like taxis at Lungtenzanpa, and as you hike up the hill you would see many more horses plying tourists up to the monastery. It must be a very recent development because I haven't seen horses during my four initial visits from 1997 to 2006.

My late stepfather's sister is now one of the many horsewomen waiting at the base of Taktshang. I am so happy to see that she has finally made a easier choice in life, though climbing Taktshang more than once every days is by no means easy but comparing to what she has gone through Taktshang should be a cup of tea.
Horsewoman Dawa Bidha. Photo by Sonam Peljor
She was a brave lady who refused to accept any stereotypical notions of the rural society she lived in. As a beautiful young widow she could have accepted another proposal and made her life easy and nobody would have bothered after a while but she made the harder choice. She had to bring up two daughters and care for her old mother inlaw, and therefore remained single throughout.

I have heard of men travelling to Tibet in the dead of night, crossing mountains after mountains, through snow and sometimes blizzards, but my aunty was the only woman who did that all her life, and mostly all by herself because she didn't find likes of her in the company of men. She and her horses took that terrible journey thrice a year and then she carried her goods on her back and travelled the width of the country going from door to door and seeking shelter wherever the day ended. She has reached every Dzongkhag and she told me that she entered every Dzong to offer butter lamp and sell her posters (of Buddhist masters) and pocket knifes.

Now it's been some years since the route to Tibet has become very dangerous for poster traders like my aunty after some people started using it for smuggling sandalwood. She now gave up on Tibet. She is in her late 50s and it's time she hung the saddles but because she still has to care for the old mother inlaw, and her two daughters still lean on her with their children she can't sell her horses as yet.

So here she is at the base of Taktshang with her horses, still sweating and still panting yet happily doing her duty as daughter inlaw, as mother and as grandmother by being a horsewoman of Taktshang. Her name is Dawa Bidha.


P:S: Though I will never ride a horse especially to Taktshang but for the longest time I romanticised the idea of riding on a horse to Taktshang after seeing a 1971 picture of Aung San Suu Kyi. It was said that Michael Aris proposed Aung on the same day after reaching Taktshang. What they have achieved in their lives after that will be remembered by history. I personally am so grateful to late Aris for all the books he wrote on Bhutan.
During my fifth visit to Taktshang in 2012, my wife, daughter and sister inlaw took what-I-call the "Aung San Suu Kyi Ride" to Taktshang. Somewhere in the middle one horse ran downhill carrying my wife and if it wasn't for my brother Samtay who caught the horse the memory would have been ugly. While it's nice to ride horses to Taktshang always know that it's risky.

Aung riding to Taktshang, 1971



 

Do You Give a Shit?

Today is my beloved wife's birthday and it gave me double joy to discover that it coincides with World Toilet Day. We have been working on the idea of Bhutan Toilet Organisation ever since I became a member of World Toilet Organisation, but this year we didn't have time enough to do anything grand, though the constant effort to change the relationship between us and our toilets will keep happening.

So on my dear wife's birthday and on the world toilet day I would like to humbly launch Bhutan Toilet as an informal organisation for now. Following are the pictures of toilets people sent us and we would like to seek your support in advocating the WTO's messages through a simple campaign- i.e. Send us your toilet picture.  Or your workplace. 

Chhukha Dzong Gate

Lobesa Restaurant 

Royal Academy Paro

Rinchengang School

Zangdopelri Building Thimphu
Email the pictures to passu@passudiary.com or join us on our Facebook Page to interact with us.
 

Collection of Rare pictures of His Majesty the fourth king of Bhutan

Today on this most auspicious day, I join the nation and the world in offering my humble prayers for our beloved fourth king's continued good health. There are hundred things people are doing today to make the memory of this day special and I want to celebrate it by making a compilation of all the rare pictures of the great king I saw today on the internet. Since the pictures were shared freely on the public domains I hope it isn't an issue to share them on my blog. The picture are arranged in no particular order. (Collection is growing each day, from 36 to now 56 pictures)

Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the latest additions to the collection:

















 His majesty in a speed boat. Shared by Wangchuk Dorji
Shared by Kinley Dolma

Shared by Pema Chuki

Shared by Pema Chuki
Shared by Tshering Dema

Shared by Pema Chuki






























Update 18.11.2014: The rarest of the rare Kupar, contributed by Tai HaoLee Zhufu and Jamyang Drukda. Thank you very much for supporting. 


Contributed by Sonam Wangmo








Update 19.11.2014, with contributions from Blogger Kuenzang Thinley, popularly known as Palden Sonam Nima (PSN) the collection is blessed with some of the rarest kupar ever from His majesty's early childhood. 







If you have some pictures that you think can impress me and can help expand this collection, please do send it to me: passu@passudiary.com


 
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